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Old July 29, 2012, 10:45 PM   #1
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Whats a good first semi-auto handgun? (budget)

I have a bunch of rifles and shotguns and I have a sudden urge to get a handgun, I know for sure I do not want a revolver. I'm thinking either a 9mm, .40 or a .45, I'm going to use it for home defense mainly and take it out shooting whenever I go. I have some experience with semi-auto handguns shooting and dis-assembly/cleaning. Kinda on a budget also. Any suggestions?
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Old July 29, 2012, 10:47 PM   #2
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How much is your budget?
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Old July 29, 2012, 10:51 PM   #3
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With no more details than you have provided I would say look at used guns maybe a Police trade-in. As for caliber 9mm probably makes the most sense for your first gun.
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Old July 29, 2012, 11:03 PM   #4
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+1 what Barrylee said.

Also, just a quick peek around Buds Guns came up with Century Arms Arcus 9mm, a Smith & Wesson 5906 (in Century Arms), Several Bersa 9mm's, An EEA Witness 9mm. The Used section showed a Ruger P89, and a Daewoo DP51 9mm- all these were below $400.
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Old July 29, 2012, 11:06 PM   #5
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Wow. You don't give us much to go with other than - budget.

Price range?

Poly or metal frame or don't care?

Hammer fired or striker fired or don't care?

Do you want an external safety or don't care?

More compact or more full size or don't care?

As always it is best to handle all you can, then try out those that appeal to you, and then make a decision.

For a new "budget" pistol IMHO a SIG SP2022 in 9MM is among the top of the list to check out if you don't mind a hammer fired poly frame pistol.
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Old July 29, 2012, 11:13 PM   #6
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Smith & Wesson 5906 9mm. Can pretty much be had to fit most anyones budget, all steel, revolver reliable, accurate, great trigger, great sites, extremely durable.
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Old July 29, 2012, 11:25 PM   #7
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Are you budgeting for the price of ammo costs or gun platform/make/model/etc?

If the former, then I'd suggest a 9mm.

If the latter, then I'd suggest a gun from a proven manufacturer.

Good luck in your search. If you're looking for opinions on something more specific i.e. DA/SA, Polymer framed, metal framed etc., then I'd be happy to be more informative.
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Old July 29, 2012, 11:50 PM   #8
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As 10-96 recommended, the Arcus 98 is hard to beat for a budget full-size 9mm (approx. $350 with transfer cost):

If you need something more "name-brand" and want to pay a little more, the Ruger SR9c is very popular:

Or the bigger SR9:
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Last edited by CWKahrFan; July 30, 2012 at 12:09 AM.
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Old July 30, 2012, 12:01 AM   #9
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Yes, what you have-or are willing-to spend is very important.
Nowadays I pretty much recommend a CZ-75 WITH the Kadet unit, that will allow you low cost practice and the transition to centerfire is pretty smooth.
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Old July 30, 2012, 12:48 AM   #10
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Sig SP2022.
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Old July 30, 2012, 02:03 AM   #11
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Go with a Kimber 1911 on a 20 yr payment plan.
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Old July 30, 2012, 02:56 AM   #12
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9mm would be my first choice, budget being number one. price of ammo,handgun tough to beat, sig would be my choice. 45acp is also tough to beat but is more expensive all the way around
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Old July 30, 2012, 07:07 AM   #13
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cz 75b
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Favorite range gun for the money - CZ 75B or STI Spartan V 9mm
Go-to carry setup - Walther PPS or PPQ in FIST kydex holster 1AK
Favorite semi-auto design - HK P7
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Old July 30, 2012, 08:46 AM   #14
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I'm still shocked at how low the SIG 2022 is priced. If I were in the market for a 9mm I think it would be at the top of my list.

You can find a Ruger P95 for $300 to $350. I don't think they make them anymore but I still see plenty for sale.

Definitely recommend 9mm if you're on a budget. Speaking as a member of the .45 club, it ain't easy on your wallet. I can shoot 9mm for half or slightly less the cost of .45's.
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Old July 30, 2012, 11:59 PM   #15
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Going with a revolver for your first pistol purchase is a good idea.
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Old July 31, 2012, 01:49 AM   #16
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Really? Nobody is going to say Glock 19? Seems to me a great pistol for someone just getting into semi-autos. Or a Glock 17, which is the same but slightly bigger if your hands are bigger.

codyb1991, check out Just pick your hand size and caliber and you're done. Glocks are top-notch, simple, inexpensive, and easy to buy.
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Old July 31, 2012, 08:00 AM   #17
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Probably because a Glock of any sort is not cheap. I'm seeing them between $500 to $550. Not crazy money compared to the old SIGs or any HK, but it ain't cheap neither.
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Old August 6, 2012, 10:46 PM   #18
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That's a BIG +1 on the Arcus 98 DA. The all steel construction is slightly heavier than all the polymer wonderguns,but soaks up a tad more recoil as a plus. The finger grooves and stipling on the large grip surface feels great. The arch of the backstrap and the beavertail fit the palm and web of my hand soooo naturally. I like the 3-dot sights,large ejection port,beefy extractor,squared off trigger guard and operating the magazine release punches out the spent magazines with good force. It's currently battling for the #1 spot in my gunsafe with the BUL Cherokee full size. Buy it. You won't be disappointed.
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Old August 6, 2012, 11:04 PM   #19
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I absolutely agree with a 9mm. A SW 5906 is super durable and reliable and inexpensive used. SW doesn't make them anymore solely due to cost to manufacture. If new and your budget is around $400 a Ruger SR9C. AT $500 a CZ 75B
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Old August 6, 2012, 11:37 PM   #20
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My buddy picked out an SR9 for his first pistol (available for about $400) and it's a well-made, smooth gun. I like it.

If it was my $400, it would be a toss-up between that, the Sig Sauer SP2022, or the Beretta PX4 which Bud's had for $400-430 recently.

Edit: Holy COW! When did Bud's change their SP2022 price to $344?!
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Last edited by LockedBreech; August 6, 2012 at 11:49 PM.
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Old August 7, 2012, 02:04 AM   #21
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Police trade ins are good. I have gotten a couple of Sigs (226/228) Glocks (17/19/22) and a Beretta 92FS before and were all good priced servicable pieces. I haven't priced one lately but the RIA Tactical is a great bang for the buck for a budget 1911A1 format.
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Old August 7, 2012, 02:18 AM   #22
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DA used Ruger of the P-series. P89, P95.. all are good for the money and will last. Shoot well, built to last and to "take it", and if you ding it up or ::gulp:: lose it you won't be out big bux. 9mm, mags available.. ergonomics good, easy to learn. I carred a p89 and a 95 as duty weapons in a job that took me outdoors in all kinds of weather. Never any trouble with either one and were not hard to "qualify" with.
Otherwise one might start with a .22 auto, cheap to shoot and builds familiarisation with the auto style..
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Old August 7, 2012, 06:04 AM   #23
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I would recommend a glock 19 new or used. Perfect all around size. Nice trigger. High cap and mild recoil. Awesome reliability.
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Old August 7, 2012, 06:36 AM   #24
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high-point C9 - 150.00-175.00 a lot of people will hate on this gun but i tell ya what. the gun works! great pistol to start off with, get your fundamentals down. 9mm is good, cheap compared to the .40 or .45 heck even the .380 is more expensive then 9mm. you want a reliable dirt cheap pistol that's not gonna break the bank every time you go to the range, i recommend this.
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Old August 7, 2012, 06:44 AM   #25
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A NIB Ruger P95 can be had for $300.
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.40 , .45 , 9mm , handgun , semi-auto

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